Charley Horse Treatment

Persistent Charley horses, or leg cramps, as well as night pain, is an indicator of “trophic changes,” or pathological developments in the tissue structure. This may indicate venous insufficiency that has gone untreated for a long time. In earlier stages of the disease, Charley horses can be relieved by rest or limb elevation; in the later stages, trophic changes lead to sensory neuropathy or damage to the nerve receptors. This damage can cause a variety of sensations – from dull cramping or Charley horses to severe pain and burning. Left untreated, this tenderness can lead to decreased sensation and numbness.

Charley horses due to superficial venous insufficiency, like any other type of pain, are a part of our defense mechanism—a signal that our body sends to our brain indicating the location and degree of damage. That is why, as with any symptom, it is incorrect to treat only the Charley horse pain rather than the condition responsible for it. 

Charley Horse or Leg Cramps

Charley horse, or leg cramps, at rest are almost always due to superficial venous insufficiency. Abnormalities of circulation during this condition result in a “contamination” of the muscles with end-metabolites. When our body is reclined or in a horizontal position, such as during driving or at night, venous circulation of the lower extremities becomes near normal. At this time, our muscles develop a very low threshold for contractions. Even small movements can trigger a prolonged and painful spasm, typically referred to as “Charley horses,” or “cramping.”

Leg Pain

Leg pain is usually brought on or worsened by periods of decreased mobility. In most cases, the pain improves with walking. Contractions of the leg muscles help to move the blood up out of the legs. Venous pain will typically increase throughout the day. It may also be more severe in hot weather. One of the hallmarks of venous insufficiency is leg pain during the first few steps, which diminishes with continued walking but comes back with prolonged walking. This leg pain is called “venous claudication” and gradually increases in the ankles while being relieved by sitting down to rest, as opposed to “arterial claudication,” which is characterized by sudden cramping of the calf muscles.

When Should I Go to the Doctor for Charley Horse Treatment?

You should get charley horse treatment from a doctor if the pain affects your daily activities. Unlike most conditions affecting the lower extremities, Charley horses caused by venous insufficiency do not correlate with physical activity. Venous insufficiency can range from vague, dull discomfort to a throbbing soreness or sharp, piercing calf cramps.

Dr. Khitin is a known expert in venous disorders, phlebology, and cardiovascular and thoracic medicine. Call us today to schedule your consultation. New York Vein Treatment Center has Charley horse treatment specialists in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and the surrounding New York area to help manage any symptoms and complications of venous disorders. 

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